What will be the impact of Brexit if I have legally been residing in the U.K. for more than five years without interruption?
Until 31 October 2019
The current situation is maintained. You benefit from a permanent residency in the United Kingdom after 5 years of continuous legal stay. This status notably implies the right to stay indefinitely in the United Kingdom, except for removal orders in exceptional cases (criminal offences).
From 1 November 2019
(unless negotiations are extended)
If the withdrawal agreement is ratified:
Until the 31st of December 2020 (longer if there is an extended transition period): the current situation is maintained.
Thereafter: the withdrawal agreement ensures that, provided your “settled status” application is successful, your permanent right to stay (“settled status”) is maintained for life, for you and the members of your family, except in the case of continued absence from the U.K. for 5 years and/or in the case of a removal orders in exceptional cases (criminal offences).
Furthermore, you may enter and leave the U.K. provided you are in possession of a valid identity card or passport. An EEA family permit (https://www.gov.uk/family-permit) makes it easier and quicker to enter the UK for your non-EEA family members.
The UK Home Office has officially launched the settled status registration scheme on 30 March 2019 which enables EU citizens and their family members to stay in the UK after 2020. If the withdrawal agreement is ratified the British authorities will allow you to register until the 30th of June 2021. The “settled status” proves your right of permanent residence, without the discretion of the British authorities as soon as you fulfil the applicable conditions.
It is already possible to apply during the current public test phase. Kindly note that the conditions for application at this stage are explained under Practical suggestions for Belgians living in the United Kingdom.
In the absence of an agreement:
The United Kingdom will leave the EU from 1 November 2019 and European law will then cease to apply. Your situation will depend on the British authorities. At this stage, the British government has agreed to maintain unilaterally your rights in terms of stay, but nothing can be guaranteed with absolute certainty. The European institutions and the Belgian authorities are fully committed to defending your interests.